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South Bend Activist Groups Call For Police Transparency During Community Relations Meeting


South Bend activist groups once again called for more transparency in the policing process at the Community Relations Committee meeting Tuesday night.

Committee Chair Lori Hamann said the purpose of the meeting was to commemorate Black History Month by having an open conversation around police reform. 


Black Lives Matter – South Bend member Mya Perry said while the Common Council acknowledged the need for community policing initiatives, it has yet to implement any. 


“This is the time for action,” she said. “We need to be moving that money, we need to be writing that legislation and involving the community in reimagining what it could look like to feel safe.”


Perry's presentation advocated for the Breathe Act, a piece of federal legislation that divests money from traditional policing and reinvests it in community-based initiatives.


One of the main issues discussed was the 9 percent raise for South Bend police officers approved by the Council in October. 


Gerri Casey, of the Michiana Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression, said the Council should take a more active role in wage negotiations between the police union and the city.


“The Common Council shouldn’t be the referee between the cops and the city," she said. "The Common Council needs to represent what the people want.”


Hamann acknowledged the Council may not have made that process as transparent to the public as it should have. But, she said she would work to make the current contract available for community members to read and discuss further.


Contact Gemma atgdicarlo@wvpe.orgor follow her on Twitter at@gemma_dicarlo.


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